New 52 Review – “Red Lanterns #1”

The Peter Milligan/Ed Benes series first announced for earlier this year finally makes its debut. This spins out of recent Green Lantern stories establishing a whole spectrum of emotions. This corps is driven by the red power of rage, which often blinds them to reason.

General Information

Title: Red Lanterns #1

Author: Peter Milligan

Illustrator(s): Ed Benes (pencils), Rob Hunter (inks) and Nathan Eyring (colours)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $2.99

Buy the digital edition.


Atrocitus became the first Red Lantern when the Guardian Krona reprogrammed the Manhunter robots (which preceded the Green Lantern Corps) to destroy all of sector 666, including Atrocitus’ homeworld. With Krona’s death at another’s hand during the War of the Green Lanterns, the rage fueled by vengeance was lost for a time. However, Atrocitus has found himself a new mission to channel his rage throughout the universe.

High Point

I have often maintained that cats are an evil species. Check out the double page spread here to see what I mean.

Low Point

The colour pallete, though appropriate, is hard on the eyes. This comic is very, very red.

The Scores

This is a new and original direction for the Red Lantern Corps. Still, it is a spinoff of an established franchise. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork shows some great detail in the pencils and inks, though there is one panel that really bothers me. (A man is punched and his head recoils the wrong way.) The colours get hard to look at, but only because Eyring applied the colours previously established for these characters and locations. That was inevitable given what was scripted. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story seems to be an effective first issue. As someone who has read every appearance of Atrocitus to date, the back story wasn’t new, but it did reveal his new frame of mind, and did not drag or bore. New readers can find everything they need to know to pick up right here. I give it 5 out of 6.

The characterization of Atrocitus is very well done, adding dimensions to a character who rarely shows any. The rest of his Corps isn’t as well defined, but that has a lot to do with thier rage-fueled minds. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response is well done. There’s a bit of a lag in the flashback, but I’m definitely looking forward to where this title is going. The red lanterns may outgrow their outright villainy and become heroes akin to a cosmicly powered Punisher, or another influence may send them down a very different path. At this stage, the title could go either way. I give it 5 out of 6.

The flow is smooth. A lot of these first issues have the “action/flashback/new mission” structure to them, and it works well. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, we’ve got a solid new entry in the Lantern franchise. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Red Lanterns #1 receives 35 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman